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ASSOCHAM urges faster execution of airports modernisation

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 30 (UNI) The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) has urged the Finance Ministry to notify all greenfield airport projects and modernisation of Delhi-Mumbai airport projects under its Project Import Scheme, to ensure timely implementation of the modernisation drive.

The project import scheme of the Union Government provides for relaxation in the customs duty structure for equipment imported for the modernisation drive. Currently, the Finance Ministry has extended this benefit to Cochin international airport through a notification.

In a memorandum to the government, ASSOCHAM President Anil K Agarwal emphasised that the Finance Ministry should immediately notify the airport modernisation projects, on the lines of the Cochin airport, so that execution of the projects can be undertaken with relaxed customs duty.

Greenfield airport projects and their modernisation after having been notified, will attract 10 per cent import duty on equipment imported for putting up such projects. Normally, if the greenfield airport projects are not notified under the project import scheme, they would attract 25 per cent customs duty which would accelerate their project cost.

The industry chamber has also urged the government to make project imports encouraging and feasible by revising the customs duty applicable under the Project Imports Scheme to 5 per cent if not to 0 per cent. In addition, it has also requested that under the scheme, even the additional customs duty of 16 per cent be brought down to the minimum rate.

ASSOCHAM is of the view that modernisation of Delhi and Mumbai airport projects under the project import scheme, will definitely give a fillip to those who have been assigned the job of their modernisation and upgradation. It is also of the view that if the benefit of the project import scheme is extended to all greenfield airport projects, a good number of other airports slated for modernisation will attract a large number of private participation which will encourage competition and facilitate their modernisation drive before schedule.

The chamber has argued that greenfield airports involve large capital investment and carry many risks. Keeping this in view, the government has been creating greenfield airports with incentives and has in fact in 2002 come up with the Greenfield Airport Policy.

Subsequently, the government has been supporting the development of the airport projects for accelerating economic growth and infrastructure development.

The chamber has urged the Finance Ministry that if a similar extension is made for the modernisation of Delhi-Mumbai and other airport projects, the government would stand to gain as it would help the promoters of such projects to finish their job as per schedule. The government will also not lose much revenue as its revenue losses would be compensated with the increased air traffic that the modernised and upgraded airports would attract.


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